Ahmad Ismail


This is a corpus-based study focusing on the analysis of three highly frequent discourse markers (DMs) in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic, namely ba'a, ṭayyeb, and ṭab. Based on a purposeful sample of seven Egyptian films, ba'a, ṭayyeb, and ṭab have been analyzed qualitatively using the corpus software WordSmith Tools. The analysis shows that these markers fulfill a multitude of functions and can operate (sometimes simultaneously) on discourse and interpersonal levels. Since DMs enhance discourse coherence and signal speakers’ attitudes, thus facilitating interaction, it is reasonable to expect that insufficient or incorrect use of DMs by learners of Arabic as a foreign language would impede efficient communication or even lead to intercultural pragmatic failure. As important components of pragmatic and intercultural competence, DMs should be given more emphasis in Arabic language classrooms. The study ends by suggesting a number of corpus-based classroom activities aimed at raising students' awareness of ba'a, ṭayyeb, and ṭab in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic and their pragmatic importance.

Degree Name

MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2015

First Advisor

Abdou, Ashraf

Committee Member 1

Abdou, Ashraf

Committee Member 2

Taha, Zeinab


162 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Arabic language -- Study and teaching -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Discourse markers.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Department of Applied Linguistics at the American University in Cairo for letting me fulfill my dream of being a student here and for giving me the opportunity to write a thesis. To my committee, Dr Ashraf Abdou, Dr Zeinab Taha, and Dr Raghda El Essawi, I am extremely grateful for your assistance and suggestions throughout my project. I am greatly indebted to my thesis supervisor, Dr Ashraf Abdou, for his unfaltering support, his intellectual guidance, and his assistance throughout this research, which would hardly have been possible without him. Thanks are also in order to the CALL Unit for making available the corpus analysis software WordSmith Tools and for the technical support they have provided, to May Ramy, the Executive Assistant to the Chair, for her encouragement when it was most needed, and last and not least, to my parents for their unconditional love, for allowing me the freedom to choose my own path, and for aiding me whenever I needed support.